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LEWIS HAMILTON vowed yesterday to quit racing rather than change his controversial style.

In the wake of a disastrous Monte Carlo Grand Prix the 26-year-old opened his heart about his racism outburst and another desperate low in such a stellar career.

Yesterday most of the yachts had left harbour, the crash barriers were already an unrecognisable pile of junk and the fans had moved on.

Hamilton would surely have loved to push such a forgettable day deeper into the debris. He was punished by the stewards three times and had five accidents.

Felipe Massa wanted him disqualified, Pastor Maldonado revelled in the final insult - Hamilton's 20-second penalty. Irrepressible ambition, spiralling frustration, soaring talent and an uncompetitive car proved an uncontainable mix.

An embattled sixth place at his favourite circuit was scant compensation for another championship challenge already on death row. "In all honesty I'll never stop racing the way I do," said Hamilton. "That's what got me here, it's the way I am. I don't do it to offend people or to hurt anyone. I do it because I love racing.

"I feel like I can do it better than others. If it ever comes to a stage where I had to pull back and drive for fourth or fifth, that would not excite me. I probably wouldn't stay around for that.

"I'm here to race and here to win. If I have to lose that passion it blows all the racing."

Swift action in returning to the stewards to explain his words appears, thus far, to have prevented further action for bringing the sport into disrepute.

Asked earlier why he had appeared before them five times in six races Hamilton responded, with a half laugh: "Because I'm black. Isn't that what Ali G says."

In reality he was the architect of his own demise and his McLaren team had to accept their share of the blame. Another cock-up in qualifying plus blunders at a pit stop and with a steering wheel increased the pressure to an unbearable degree.

Hamilton revealed how his team had offered him the chance to retire when his wing was hanging off near the finish but he refused, consequently rescuing sixth place and eight points.

"At the first pit-stop no one was there to change the tyres. So all the tension just boiled up," he added.

"I had prepared myself the best this weekend, I was the fastest and I could have won the Grand Prix happily.

"Some things get in your way and you just have to suck it up and move on."

He is also hounded by his desire to match the feats of his idol Ayrton Senna who was ultimately defined by what he achieved here; six wins in seven years around the toughest track on earth.

"The passion's even greater than elsewhere. Honestly, in my heart of hearts I believe I can own this circuit," he said. "I feel I can be the fastest here. I was and not with the fastest car."

Sebastian Vettel has a 58-point lead, but Hamilton added: "I will recover from this weekend. There's a long way to go."

Races left when Vettel wins the title? None 4/1, one 11/4, two 11/4, three 4/1, four 6/1 Freephone: 0800 44 40 40


COLLISION COURSE Hamilton hits Maldonado ONE RACE, FIVE ACCIDENTS AND THREE PUNISHMENTS Hamilton mixes it with Pastor Maldonado and Michael Schumacher on the streets of Monte Carlo FIGHTING TALK Lewis Hamilton
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2011
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